When going through the steps of a Social Security disability case for your mental illness condition, you may ask yourself “how long does the Social Security review process take?” Here at Disability Associates, a Social Security disability law firm in Towson, MD, we value and emphasize transparency about every step of the Social Security disability process, and are often asked this question by our clients.
How Long Does The Social Security Review Process Take?
The Social Security review process is the same for mental health disabilities as it is for physical disabilities. There are three steps that Social Security initially goes through. At the beginning stage, once you have filed your application, the case goes to another department called Disability Determination Services. That is where the case gets processed. After that, it is reviewed by a team of doctors that work for Social Security, and then a decision is made. This process generally takes about six months to complete.
In most cases, the decision will be a “no”, so the next step is to file an appeal. The first appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration. This is really just asking for another opinion. So, your case will go back to Disability Determination Services, but it will be assigned to a whole new team of people to review, as well as different doctors to review it too. The same basic process will be followed and they will also look at any new evidence that has been added to the case. This elongates the process by about another six months.
If the case is approved at that point, then you are finished. If it is denied upon first appeal, however, you will have to file another appeal. This second appeal is when you will get to have a hearing with a judge. You will actually be able to talk to a judge about your condition and why you cannot work. The judge is in the best position of anybody to determine whether or not you shall receive disability benefits because they will have all of the medical evidence that has been submitted throughout the entire case, but can also talk directly to you.
However, it generally takes a while to get a hearing with a judge. Currently, the waiting period is about 12 months after you file a request for a hearing. So, overall, the average time it takes to go through the Social Security review process is about 2 years. If the judge says no, there are additional appeal levels that can be reached, but these appeals will elongate the process further.
About Disability Associates
Our team at Disability Associates views our clients as more than just another case. We build genuine relationships with each and every one of our clients to ensure that they are comfortable during this stressful time. We value honesty, good communication, and compassion, and implement these values with every client we have. In building these relationships, our clients trust that we will provide competent representation and will do our best to get them the Social Security benefits they deserve.